I’ve read quite few books on being married and how to do it successfully. The number of books out there is huge compared to how many I’ve read, but I think that the few that I’ve read are pretty indicative of the whole for the most part. Granted, I’m more likely to read those books that are also informed by my own faith worldview, but I think at some point some things are bound to be the same across the board.
One of the more important realizations that husbands can make is that their wife does not think the same way they do. This goes deeper than favorite foods or TV programs (though I’m beginning to find what I think is an alarming rate of men who like to watch the Bachelorette). It’s a difference in perspective and how they think through the day and the various problems that may arise. I’ve heard it out this way: women want to communicate, men want to solve. Any good author will pick up on this difference, and so will any good husband.
When marital problems occur based around communications I suggest the use of the “Plichta-question”.
First some background: who or what is a Plichta?
Back in the day, say mid to late 1990’s, I went to high school with a girl whose last name was Plichta. We had several classes together, and so did a couple others. I’m not sure who noticed it first, but someone mentioned the phenomenon and then we all started to pay attention to it. Plichta had an odd way of asking questions in class. Let me give you a for instance….
Teacher: “In essence, what we’re saying is that the sky is blue during the day.”
Plichta’s arm shoots up and teacher calls on her.
Plichta: “So, what you’re saying is that the sky, when seen during the day, is blue?”
Teacher: “That’s right.”
Now, this “for instance” fits all kinds of circumstances. The question formula could be used in all classes, and it was. It was definitely noticeable in Organic Chem, which was a class that had a lot of asking questions as we played with our models. We learned that when Plichta raised her hand it was a time of brain relaxation because no new information was going to be gathered. Our brains could rest.
But what I’ve come to understand is that the “Plichta-question” is a great way to make sure that the other party knows you are listening. This is especially great with husbands and wives. Not that women aren’t looking for solutions, but they can sense when a guy isn’t really listening but is just charging ahead to the solution. I think, and I could be wrong, my wife isn’t interesting in knowing that I know the answer as much as she just wants me to be a sounding board, making sure that she is seeing the situation in the right way. Or she is just relating to me the events of the day. She probably doesn’t need me over analyzing her day. She’s probably already done that. So, the “Plichta-question”, or “plichta-ing” comes in useful.
How it works: You, the husband, listen to the details and the tone of voice as she relates to you what’s going on. You repeat back details in the form of a question, with the emphasis being on making sure you’ve heard correctly.
Do not ask her in such a way that exhibits that you’ve just been listening for the sake of answering the question. This is a chance for you to listen to her, and that might just be all she wants, to be heard.
Do not make the question a statement. Avoid replacing the question mark with a period. You can engage her in conversation and make statements but only after you’ve “plichta-ed” her.
This is not a solution but a step. Maybe this will help you become a better listener. Maybe this will help you understand your wife a little more. Maybe this will save your marriage (if it does, let me know. I’m thinking about copyrighting the whole “Plichta-question”, but not sure how you can copyright someone else’s last name. There’s Boyle’s Law and stuff so i think it can be done.)
The point is to be listen because she wants and deserves your attention. Does anyone else have any other tips on marriage that they would like to share?